E911 looks into high tech equipment

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 19, 2008

LINDEN &8212; After beginning the search process for new technology in February of last year, the new E911 board is picking up where it left off with a consulting firm to seek out options to replace outdated and poorly operating equipment.

According to Steve Brooks, a representative with Synergem consulting firm who worked with the board previously, they began looking into a new telecommunications locator system known as ANI-ALI. At the time, the board was interested in replacing the current system with a new system that operated on analog technology.

At Tuesday&8217;s meeting, however, discussion began on the need to revise previous bid requests to include a new system that ran on digital technology.

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Other board members agreed. Bruce Baker, vice chairman, said analog technology was a thing of the past.

Brooks said if all were in agreement, the next issue would be to come up with what features and functions on a digital system would best suit the needs of the different organizations in Marengo County. In terms of cost, Brooks said a new digital system would be comparable in cost to the analog systems the board looked into a year ago.

Other issues addressed at the meeting were updating standard operating procedures, or SOPs. According to Sylvan Mutschler, who will remain on as chairman after previously resigning his position pending a move out of the country, the need was to get the SOPs consistent with the practices actually being carried out between dispatchers and first responders.

Other priorities identified by the board, as previously reported, include purchasing new communications radios and updating map books to include up-to-date addressing information. The board plans to have a work session to discuss technology options.

Another issue raised at the meeting, which is only the third for the newly-repopulated board, was the possibility of a pay raise for the workers of the E-911 service.

According to Lisa Mangum, who is the director for Marengo County E-911, surrounding counties pay their employees wages that range from $6 an hour to $14.95 an hour. Currently, dispatchers can make up to $9.10 an hour.

Caroline Rogers, who serves as secretary, said the previous board never dealt with a different pay scale for the employees. Mutschler said they plan to look into the possibility of raises in the future.